Close Menu
#BeeWell(featured image)

Manchester’s Favourite Soul Band Lovescene Release Self-Titled Album

The twenty-first century has seen the revival of many peculiar trends in popular music. With K-Pop dominating the Pop scene and Rap, Hip Hop and R&B maintaining second place as the most popular genres in the world, it’s rare that Soul music gets any attention. Fortunately, we are here to tell you that the narrative has changed. 

Ever since its popularity during the 1960s, the wonderful soundscapes of Soul are back, with bands such as the six-piece group Lovescene leading the forefront of this genre-bending change. Led by the UK vocalist and producer Poppy Roberts, their sound speaks for itself. A mixture of contemporary R&B, Neo-soul and romantic grooves, they encapsulate the city’s love appeal through songs of love and heartbreak. 

In a recent article Summer of Soul by Kate Hutchinson, featured in both The Guardian and the Observer New Review, Lovescene were recognised as being amongst ‘the stars of the UK soul renaissance’, alluding to the shift in Soul music’s popularity in the UK. 

Their self-titled debut album, lovescene, came out back in February and is now available on all platforms. To celebrate this release, they left romantic postcards scattered in the venues of Manchester, wishing love to the city. With classic & contemporary twists scattered throughout, mesmerising tonalities of vocals, guitar riffs and funky basslines, this nine piece LP is a spine-tingling listening experience. 

2022 has been a big one for Lovescene, with the announcement of their UK tour dates, features on radio stations such as BBC Radio 6’s The People’s Party and All Hours Radio; recently launched by Manchester-born DJ, Anz, who has played at a host of established clubs such as Fabric, Soup and The White Hotel, headlining the Boiler Room Festival in 2021. 

In 2020, Lovescene took to the Jäger x Reform stage at We Out Here Virtual Festival and brought their incredible romantic sounds. Watch their full performance down below. 

Taking things back to the current day, we sat down with their lead singer, Poppy Roberts, to find out who they really are and what this album means to them. 

Tell us about the romantic postcards!

We are always looking out for the lovers! The pre-sales for the album purposefully went out near Valentine’s Day because of the sheer romanticism of the album – we wanted to give a little something to the people, and I always think that the art of postcards is disappearing a little these days – I used to look out for them all the time in venues and still have old ones, close to my heart from when I used to go into greenroom in about 2006! It’s also just a good feeling to provide something that means people are spreading the love by sending it…

What does this album mean to you as a band?

The album has ended up meaning a LOT – partly because we made it against a LOT of odds during lockdowns and restrictions. The songs themselves are inspired by a lot of different subjects – unrequited love, the music industry, not settling for less than you deserve, the music scene as a whole… I think albums can serve as a bit of diary in that aspect, but thankfully, once the songs are released and have lives of their own on other people’s speakers and in other people’s own contexts: they lose the pain that might have been attached to them originally. 

You mention on your Spotify description that the album is a homage to heartbreak, heart-fix and the love scenes of our life and youth. Could you elaborate on this please.

I think Now You Wanna and its gorgeous string introduction sums up the vibe of this album – there’s melancholy and maybe some sad realisations, but suddenly it switches and that vulnerability becomes strength – the moment you pick yourself back up and the lesson you’ve learned actually makes you stronger and ready for more nonsense! It’s a really cinematic moment musically, and I think there’s an underlying sense of cinema in love and relationships – it’s why couples have ‘their songs’, why you can’t listen to certain music after a breakup, and why often you can remember the exact ‘scene’ of big moments of falling in love throughout your life. I think they go hand in hand and this album is a homage to that!

Do you have a particular favourite track on the album and why? 

We all have our favourites – mine changes every week, so impossible to say, but top 3 are always “Now You Wanna” particularly for when that intro switches from strings to band (I cried the first time Alex played that piano line in the studio and had to style it out); The absolutely amazing rhythm section on “Tired of Waiting”; and the massiveness of singing with that choir on “Silver”.

Loving Silver. The lyrics ‘don’t settle for silver, when you know you suit gold’ are bringing us back to our sassy teenage years. What inspired these lyrics? 

Im glad you harked back to some sassiness! The song actually has two narratives to it. The beginning is urging someone to see that I was the ‘gold’ and to stop settling for the easier option than being with me. But actually, the song started to tell me that I was the one settling for silver by pursuing someone who didn’t value me and was playing with my heart a bit. So, it really U-turned and by the time the group vocals raise the roof, it’s about telling myself and anyone listening to not put yourself in this situation anymore.

The additional vocals were comprised of some absolute legends of the Manchester gospel scene- Yvonne Shelton, Gloria Bharda-Singh and Tricia Ramarozafy – all with ridiculously established back catalogues of their work, but also important figures in their communities – this made the track even more special because their energy and what special people they are just elevated the meaning of the song itself. I do feel there’s a disconnect when it comes to released music and the community work and groups that exist – I hope that changes over time, the one cannot exist without the other. People like these women have brought up, inspired and given opportunities to so much talent that often gets overlooked. I’ll always want to honour people like them whenever I can. 

Can you talk a little bit about some of the artists you worked with and how these collaborations came about? 

The collaborations on the album were wonderful – Blind Mic absolutely killed it on the first single – always been a fan of his lyricism: they have this great mixture of heart, and humour which was perfect for the more tongue-in-cheek aspect to that song. Gary Washington was another amazing addition to the instrumental section – I’d never had the chance to see him in a studio environment as he’s such a live, avant-garde performer  – so to hear and show another side to him was really something. Harry Fausing-Smith on the string sections was the absolute icing on the cake – an incredible performer and writer who is currently touring with Tom Misch and smashing it! We also had some lovely bonus parts by Biff Roxby who recorded and co-produced the album – he is responsible for those mighty horns in the albums outro and also that magic baritone in the Intermission – he’s like the Barry White of North Manchester!

If you could pick three artists to work with in the future, who would they be? 

We’ve all got wildly different answers to this. Wilma Archer, Thundercat and of course D’Angelo is a democratic overview of a few of our answers!

Who are your biggest musical influences as a band? 

Undoubtedly we get referenced to Sade a lot, but also the Jill Scott ‘Experience’ album is a HUGE influence on what we all love about the kind of Neo-soul/RnB we love. I would also say more recent artists like K15 and Dego and kaidi are big influences on our dancier, more electronic material.

What’s next for Lovescene? Do you have any exciting things coming up that you want to shout about?

We’ve got some remixes coming, the 7inch vinyl out on Band On The Wall records, a mini-tour plus the festival run: X The Tracks, Gottwood, Bigfoot and much more to come! Watch this space.

Close Menu
Close Menu